In the advertising world, sponsored programmes are routine. They are simply an attempt to promote a specific product or an activity. The names of the sponsors are mostly known and the product is clearly identified. But for the last three decades, the word "sponsor" has become much maligned. In India, it is most often known in the realm of terrorism in the context of the Kashmir crisis and beyond its boundaries. Terrorism in India has been greatly promoted by Pakistan and its authorities. They are the invisible force. They are the real sponsors, providing various kinds of support from supplying ammunitions to military training, facilitating border-crossing and building their infrastructure and propaganda too. But on the face of it, they always deny all involvement. A similar tactic has also been acquired by the BJP and their target is their opponents, especially the AAP in Delhi.
With the announcement of the MCD elections, barrage of attacks were launched on AAP using everything from a government apparatus to extra-governmental human resources. Offices of Income Tax to the LG's offices were blatantly used and now a new entity has been created for their purpose. This new discovery is Kapil Mishra. It's not the first time that such a person from AAP has been appropriated. Remember, during the 2015 Delhi assembly elections, an organisation named AVAM appeared from nowhere. They used to hold a press conference on a daily basis to level all kind of charges. It was led by one Karan Singh who was with AAP and looking after volunteers' grievances before jumping ship like a mercenary to work for our opponents. Most surprisingly, their accusations were taken very seriously by the media, particularly TV channels. Even the Prime Minister of India and Finance Minister took their accusations at face value and attacked AAP.
I am reminded of the Prime Minister's statement of "black deeds of black nights". Then Arun Jaitley said that AAP leaders had been caught red-handed. The context of the accusations of AVAM was - "AAP has received 2 crores from shell companies." Despite statements from these people who hold such high constitutional positions, no action has ever been taken to check the allegations. And that is because there was nothing wrong about the transactions. The money was received by AAP by cheque, the transaction was clean, every detail was available on the net for anyone to verify then. But it was made a big issue. Even our old friends Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav were misled. They also raised it at every available forum.
AAP has accused Kapil Mishra of making "baseless and wild allegations" after being sacked as minister
Now look at the present scenario. Kapil Mishra, since being sacked from the AAP cabinet on the charges of not fulfilling his duty as a minister, has been throwing all kinds of muck. He has not spared anyone including me. I have been accused of going to Russia and doing some "deal" for the party. This is a blatant lie. Yes, I have gone to Russia, visited Moscow and St Petersburg, and was there for a week. It is true that my ticket was bought by my old friend for years, Sheetal Singh, who had invited me for his brother's son's marriage in Moscow. Sheetal Singh was a reputed journalist, worked for reputed magazines like India Today and had broken many stories as an investigative reporter. Later he left journalism and turned entrepreneur. He was part of a company that was dealing with high-security number plates. He left that company in 2004-05. He has had nothing to do with that company for the last 12 years and if the same company is indulging in any corrupt practices now, how can he be responsible for any wrong doing? But his name was dragged through the mud, and through him, an attempt was made to malign my image.
Every piece of information was provided to Kapil by a man who has a dubious reputation and who allegedly has close connections with BJP leaders, a man who has been flaunting his proximity with the top leaders of the present regime. His timeline on social media has been full of such pictures. This person was part of AVAM too. Any reporter willing to do some homework would have easily found out the truth, but instant journalism does not wait for great research.
Very recently, I was aghast to see a story on a TV news channel. The reporter was showing papers of VDIS (Voluntary Disclosure Income Scheme - a scheme to bring back undisclosed money into the system). The disclosure is supposed to be highly confidential and disclosure of income details are never made public and if the information is leaked or disclosed, then the concerned official can lose his/her job too. But in this case, the papers that were shown on TV were related to the company in which Satyendra Jain was a partner. It is alleged that this company has indulged in hawala
transactions and acquired benami
properties. Nothing has been proved, no concrete evidence has been given and the matter is still under investigation. But the appearance of the most confidential papers in public and reaching a news channel is not possible without the active support of a powerful person. The man has to be powerful and should have a very high level of interest in this matter. I would like to ask if the Finance Ministry will order an enquiry to find out who leaked VDIS papers. And will the concerned official be punished? I am dead sure nothing will happen as it was done at the behest of the government itself.
Will anybody ask why papers have been landing at a particular TV channel from the LG's office with such frightening speed and regularity for the last one and half years, before they even reach the CM's office, from Najeeb Jung's time to the present incumbent of LG office? During the run-up to the Delhi MCD elections, the AAP government was alleged to have raised a bill of 3 crores for the payment of reputed lawyer, Ram Jethmalani, for a defamation case. Then it was alleged that Rs 16,000/plate was paid for an editors' get-together. In both the cases, no money was ever paid. In the second case, in fact, an enquiry was ordered by the AAP government when an anomaly was detected. Again, the media lapped up the matter and sensational headlines were made. Another news that also made headlines was that Rs 97 crore would be recovered from AAP for misuse of public money on advertisements. When this order was challenged in the Delhi High Court, the central government counsel quietly said that it was not meant to be recovered, and the order was advisory in nature.
Who has been offering papers to Kapil? It can only be done with a purpose and the purpose is simply to malign the image of AAP. The LG's office has nothing to gain from these leaks. So who can it be? Obviously, our political opponents! The Congress is down and out of power. So it can't be them. The BJP has a government at the centre and it has an axe to grind in Delhi. It has twice failed to form the government in Delhi, rather it has tasted humiliating defeat at a time when Mr Modi was at his peak. Its leaders have been launching vitriolic attacks on AAP and spreading all kind of lies. AAP leaders have been told by very highly placed sources that they won't let the AAP government survive its full term. Therefore every tactic is being used, every attempt is being made to kill the brand called AAP. It is "sponsored-terrorism" of a different nature and AAP is bearing the brunt, though to be fair, other opposition parties too are not being spared.(Ashutosh joined the Aam Aadmi Party in January 2014.)Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.